Sunday, June 27, 2010

Comics for August

ADVENTURE COMICS #517
(Written by Paul Levitz, co-feature written Jeff Limire, art by Kevin Sharpe and Mario Alzquiza, co-feature art by Mahmud Asrar and John Dell, cover by Scott Clarke and David Beatty.)

When Superboy learns about his future exploits, he discovers the heavy burden that comes with being the kid destined to grow up to be Superman. And in the second installment of the all-new co-feature starring The Atom, Ray Palmer continues tracking down who may have recently attacked his father!
40 pages, $3.99, in stores on August 11.






BIRDS OF PREY #4
(Written by Gail Simone, art by Ed Benes, Adriana Melo and Maria Benes, cover by Alina Urusov, variant cover by Ryan Sook, Fernando Pasarin and Joel Gomez.)

The explosive first arc of concludes here! The Birds race against the clock to protect the Super Hero community, but can they make it in time and find their blackmailer? And the final showdown between Black Canary and White Canary is a fight between two martial arts masters!
32 pages, $2.99, in stores on August 11.







DOOM PATROL #13
(Written by Keith Giffen, art and cover by Matthew Clark.)

Mento's back, and Rita's got him in a death grip! When her ex takes things one step too far, he learns a hard lesson about ticking off a 50-foot woman -- and we learn some secrets about Rita!
32 pages, $2.99, in stores on August 4.








THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #4
(Written by Paul Levitz, art and cover by Yildiray Cinar and Wayne Faucher, variant cover by Jim Lee and Scott Williams.)

Who kidnapped Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad's twin children? Whoever it is, the real culprit is trying very hard to make the Legion members believe Darkseid perpetrated the deed. Is the mad New God to blame? Or is something even more dangerous at fault?
40 pages, $3.99, in stores on August 25.







ATLAS #4
(Written by Jeff Parker, penciled by Gabriel Hardman and Ramon Rosanas, cover by Jae Lee.)

At great price, one of the Echo People are captured! Now the Agents of Atlas and 3-D Man know who is coming after them and why, but that doesn't make the invaders any less deadly. The only chance for these heroes and the whole planet is to go deep behind enemy lines... with little chance of return.
32 pages, $2.99.






GORILLA MAN #2
(Written by JEFF PARKER Penciled by GIANCARLO CARACUZZO Cover by LEONARD KIRK)

As Ken Hale's mission takes him further into the jungle, he goes further into the wild past life that lead to him becoming the Gorilla-Man. Young Ken meets a beautiful girl named Lily but makes some powerful enemies!
40 pages, $3.99.








THUNDERBOLTS #147
(Written by Jeff Parker, penciled by Kev Walker, cover by Marko Djurdjevic.)

Guest-starring the Avengers Academy! A scared-straight visit from the next generation of Earth's Mightiest Heroes goes horribly wrong and Luke Cage isn't sure which of his Thunderbolts he can count on to regain control of The Raft! Also, can Cage keep objective when he realizes one of the prisoners is the man who once controlled his wife: the sinister Purple Man?
32 pages, $2.99.







I dropped THE SPIRIT, the last of the FIRST WAVE books. I also dropped AMERICAN VAMPIRE. It was pretty good, I just can't afford to keep it.

Other books that almost made the list: SECRET SIX, X-FACTOR, JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST, BOOSTER GOLD and POWER GIRL.
At this point I simply just don't have the funds available to pick up all the books that would interest me.

THUNDERBOLTS is being tried out as I'm loving Parker's work with ATLAS and with Man-Thing in there, it's gotta be good!

I finally gave in to BIRDS OF PREY. I was a big fan of the book a while back and I dug out my old issues. Reviews have been good so I thought I'd see if it still has its charm.

DOOM PATROL is a new add, too. I finally decided to support it since it is THE Doom Patrol and it's Keith Giffen. And it's not John Byrne. And it jives with Morrison. And it's THE Doom Patrol... Accept no substitutes.
However, if Marvel ever decides to cancel ATLAS then DC needs to snag Jeff Parker and put him on this! With art by Mike Allred or Paul Pope, of course!

Return of the Mad Movie Marathon!

Last week I started watching movies again.
Not just any movies... My Mad Mad Movies!

I'll be posting the movies (with online links if available for viewing) as I go along.

The first night we had:

THE ATOMIC BRAIN (1964)
(aka Monstrosity)


"Inside an evil mansion, a mad scientist and an old woman hire three young women as servants. Grave robbing and forced brain transplants by atomic power add to the horror, as the three women are chained... to the devil's love lab!"

Be on the lookout for such lines as "I have the same measurements as Marilyn Monroe! (giggle)" and "I don't want you running up and down stairs! Those pretty legs of yours'll get ugly muscles!".

I always wondered- if the length of time the bodies were dead effected the doctor's experiments why didn't he take the night-watchman's body. Guess only pretty young girls are acceptable.

Nevertheless, an enjoyable movie worthy of cult status.
Thumbs UP!
View online HERE!

THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN'T DIE (1963)


"A crazed surgeon accidentally decapitates his attractive fiancee. He takes her head to his lab to keep it alive while he searches for a replacement body. But the resurrected head plots revenge - telepathically!"

A (not-so-quite) mad doctor decides to piece together his bride-to-be. What luck! Now he can have his wife with the body of his choosing!

Unfortunately, his fiancee doesn't agree and forms a partnership that could very well have been the inspiration for DC Comics' the Brain and Monsieur Mallah (of the Brotherhood of Evil).

Another film worth being in the collection.
Thumbs UP!
View online HERE!

New Look and Updates

Obviously, I changed the look of the blog today...

I think the "written" look has a bit of steampunkish feel which contrasts with the futuristic replicant theme... Kinda like listening to Johnny Cash in space... (name that show!).

I also went through and checked every single link in my link list and deleted ones that have either disappeared or haven't been touched in years (aside from Psychebloke's page, which I keep up in hopes that he will someday return).

I also added some links, including Jeff Parker's blog, Pood Comics, My Comicshop (where I get back issues), DCBS (where I get new issues), Comics Continuum (my preferred comics news source) and Major Spoilers (the review site that has become my new Fourth Rail).

Friday, June 25, 2010

Digital Comics and What it Means...


So... Looks like Comixology has become the "go to" company for both DC and Marvel to distribute the digital versions of their comics.
After reading the initial reactions by the comics creators, themselves, we can begin to speculate on the future of comics...

The switch to digital is (was) inevitable... the price of comics has climbed so high that a person who works for a living cannot afford to read more than a handful of books a month.
One of the major draws is that the comics released through online have the possibility of being far cheaper.

Most comics these days are sold exclusively through comic shops. There's still countless people who have never stepped into one, and probably never will. However, those same people may casually thumb through an Archie digest at the grocery store. And they may even buy one!
The online service will put it back into the eyes of the casual browser. People who wouldn't normally buy a comic may find themselves trying out a book or two. Out of those that do maybe a few will continue reading or may even seek the books out in the real world.

So that's all well and good...
But what else..?

I think we may be seeing a huge shift in comics production. Something that hasn't happened since the '30s when comics began as reprints of newspaper strips.
Comics reformatted themselves to adapt to book form back in the '30s.

What I see happening is comics being released online first then being collected into trade paperbacks.
We may see shorter pieces being offered for less as they may switch to weekly releases, even. This would be natural as it would be similar to how most webcomics are released and would bring them closer to the mindset most have towards television shows.

I wonder how the new format will change the way they look years down the road. Will there be flash explosions? Sound effects..? Theme music..?

Another change I see is a wider variety of genres. Superheroes may start to lose their hold as writers and artists are drawn to more mainstream material. Superheroes may dwindle down to the ones that Marvel and DC publish to keep their copyrights up to date and promote licensing.

It will be interesting to see if this will play out the way it did when radio dramas went to tv or when pulp magazines met their demise...

So is it good or bad?

A little bit of both perhaps.
We'll see.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Interesting Tidbit...


Looking at this minimum wage chart you find out this:

In 1982, two hours worth of pay you could get 10 comics (min wage: 3.35, price per comic: .60).
Today, two hours of pay will get you about 4 (min wage: 7.25, price per comic: 2.99).
And most prices are raising this year to 3.99 so that may come down even more to 3.

Looks like more than inflation is involved with this one...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Heroic Age Checklist



So after a few months of observing both DC Comics and Marvel Comics' approach at bringing their lines back to the realm of normalcy (read non-dark, depressing or hopeless) I finally settled on Marvel.

Here is the checklist of books I'm planning to get (which are all of the OFFICIAL Heroic Age books).

The hard part will be narrowing the list down to a manageable line-up of monthlies following the event. I know ATLAS will be on that list.

What is interesting is that when I first began reading comics around 1982 Marvel's monthly comics totaled just over thirty titles. Now they put out that many in a WEEK! And with prices that baffle the mind. How can a 60-cent comic 1n 1982 be 3.99 in 2010 when a 50-cent can of soda is 75-cents now. It seems like nothing else has had as much of a markup in the last thirty years as comics.

I better stop or I'll be going off on a tangent... Will save that for a future post.
So to proceed... Here's the Heroic Age books to get:



AVENGERS #1
CAPTAIN AMERICA #606
AGE OF HEROES #1
ENTER THE HEROIC AGE #1
HEROIC AGE: PRINCE OF POWER #1
ORIGINS OF MARVEL COMICS #1
AVENGER, THOR AND CAPTAIN AMERICA: OFFICIAL INDEX TO THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #1
HEROIC AGE MAGAZINE #1
AVENGERS ASSEMBLE #1
ATLAS #1
BLACK WIDOW #2
SECRET AVENGERS #1
THUNDERBOLTS #144
DEADPOOL #23
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #26
AVENGERS SPOTLIGHT #1
FANTASTIC FOUR #579

AVENGERS #2
AVENGERS ACADEMY #1
NEW AVENGERS #1
SECRET AVENGERS #2
AVENGERS PRIME #1
AGE OF HEROES #2
BLACK WIDOW #3
CAPTAIN AMERICA #607
FANTASTIC FOUR #580
HERCULES: TWILIGHT OF A GOD #1
HEROIC AGE: PRINCE OF POWER #2
HAWKEYE & MOCKINGBIRD #1
INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #27
SECRET WARRIORS #17
THUNDERBOLTS #145
VENGEANCE OF THE MOON KNIGHT #9
YOUNG ALLIES #1
THOR #611
DEADPOOL #24
ATLAS #2

UNCANNY X-MEN: THE HEROIC AGE #1
X-MEN #1
UNCANNY X-MEN #526
X-MEN LEGACY #238
WOLVERINE ORIGINS #50
NEW MUTANTS #15

As you can see that's a lot of books.
It may take me a few months just to get the first month's worth...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Summer Recharge



I've started to listen to more NPR here in the realm of the replicants. There's a wide variety of stuff out there across hundreds of stations. I use PublicRadioFan.com to sort through it all. They have a great feature where you can glance at what's playing in a handy grid (similar to a tv guide). You can also narrow to music or non-music broadcasts.

I was listening this morning to Weekend Edition Sunday and they had a piece on Jeff Beck and his new album, Emotion and Commotion (which I'm sure I'm gonna try to find), and I heard some really good music. He has a great sound. And just as if they were targeting me, he was paired with Joss Stone on two tracks of the album.
Joss is a phenomenal artist in her own right but the two of them together is amazing!

So after listening to the show I did something I haven't done in a loooong time- I made a "mix tape".

I had a mixtape at one time (back when I did it on cassettes) that had the Blade Runner/Fly Night Bird/Blue Jean Blues combo but I've since lost it and can't remember what else was on it. However, I'm pretty sure Cherish the Day was in there somewhere.

This mix is designed to flow well from one song to the next. If there is a theme to it, it would be the bluesy, whiny guitar sound that resonates from a majority of the tracks.

So let those guitars reach down and peel away all the funk that's built up and feel the recharging begin.

Track listing:
1. Santana - "Jingo"
2. Jeff Beck and Joss Stone - "I Put a Spell on You"
3. Tito & the Tarantulas - "After Dark"
4. U2 with Brian Eno - "One Minute Warning"
5. Bjork - "All is Full of Love"
6. Vangelis - "Blade Runner Blues"
7. Roy Buchanan - "Fly Night Bird"
8. ZZ Top - "Blue Jean Blues"
9. U2 with Brian Eno - "Different Kind of Blue"
10. Jane Sibery - "It Can't Rain All the Time"
11. Jeff Beck - "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
12. Sade - "Cherish the Day"

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

More Insightful Info


So after falling for Marvel's ATLAS series I've decided to check out more information on Jeff Parker, the writer of said book.

So far I have discovered that Jeff wrote for Marvel's Adventure line of comics when it shifted over from Marvel Age. He even launched the Marvel Adventures version of the Avengers. At one time I considered reading the Adventures line because they don't come off as kiddie books like most of DC's Johnny DC titles. They're simply stories not buried in miles of backstory and are more casual reads from what I've seen so far. They remind me of DC's Animated comics, particularly Adventures in the DC Universe. Unfortunately, I never did get started into it.

I did find it interesting that they used Storm (from the X-Men) in that Avengers. However, it made sense, of course, since the X-Men movies had made her one of Marvel's biggest female characters and Monica Rambeau's Captain Marvel is all but forgotten these days.

But back to the topic at hand. Which is Jeff Parker.

There are only a few writers that have made the kind of first impression on me that Jeff has made. This would include Mike Allred, Darwyn Cooke, Jeff Smith and Mike Mignola...

Now... those are all varied examples... and he's not exactly like any one of them... So what is it that makes me draw that conclusion? What makes me put him in the same category as those folks?

Storytelling and characterization.
And a large helping of fun.

He's not out to write the next Watchmen or Dark Knight... He's not Diassembling anyone or practicing to write the next made-for-movie event. He's just writing a fun comic and it shows.

One thing I like to do is check out creators' personal websites or blogs. I've learned a lot from Marv Wolfman from doing so. On the flipside, I also lost a lot of respect for John Byrne doing that, too.

So the last few days I've been reading Jeff Parker's blog over at Parkerspace and I like what I've seen so far. Granted, I've only read the first few months of 2004 and the last handful of his most recent postings... but I can already tell that this guy is gonna be on my must-read list for a while. He's just quirky enough to be real.

I just ordered the first two AGENTS OF ATLAS trade paperbacks and I'm looking forward to reading them. I'm usually anti-trades. If I miss something and have to go back to pick it up, I generally go for the original "floppies". I don't know why. Perhaps it's because I'm old school. Or it could be because I like to be able to lay them out and admire the individual covers. Or maybe it's because I think trades are killing the comic format while breathing life into the comics medium.

I would have gotten the original comics but the Atlas books were a little different than your usual run-of-the-mill reprint book. There's a bunch of extra material in there that I would never have seen or found on my own. Maybe I wouldn't have been inclined to go seek out the first appearance of Gorilla Man... but it's there... So I'll read it. It's stuff like that that will eventually win me over to the trades. I still stand on the anti-written-for-trade side, though.

Now I just need to check out Keith Giffen's DOOM PATROL.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Return of Good Comics

Two books have put me back in fanboy mode here recently.
One of them is from DC Comics and the other is from Marvel Comics...

#1 - LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES

DC has brought back the Legion in all their glory. The group has been reconnected to their long, colorful history that led to them being one of DC's big team books of the '80s. Thanks to the guidance of Geoff Johns (who revived the Green Lantern franchise and injected a lot of excitement into the DC Universe with Blackest Night) the Legion has been reintroduced and are as dynamic as ever.
Add to this the return of one of the Legion's best writers ever, Paul Levitz (who created the Levitz Paradigm, a wonderful guide to creative storytelling using subplots) and you have magic happening before your eyes.

Most would expect the story to be full of exposition, long narrations and other old-school storytelling conventions (see Chris Claremont's original return to X-Men) but happily that doesn't happen here. Levitz does a great job of mixing his writing style with a more modern approach.

I'm excited to be reading this and I'm looking forward to ADVENTURE COMICS when it comes in.

Currently subscribing: LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, ADVENTURE COMICS.
Adding to wish-list: JLA: THE LIGHTNING SAGA TPB, SUPERMAN AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES TPB, FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS TPB.

#2 - ATLAS

I have been watching this one with a curious eye for the last few years. I always wanted to try it out but never could get around to it.

It has the makings of a comic that is right up my alley... a talking gorilla, a robot, martial arts, super-heroes... a b-movie feel... and from what I've read, a lot of fun.

So here we have a new #1. Marvel relaunched the series as part of their Heroic Age event hoping to bring more attention to the title. And it worked. I finally gave in and tried it out.

I don't regret it. ATLAS is very enjoyable and I really liked all the extra goodies at the back. It's obvious that Jeff Parker is having a lot of fun with this book and I'm planning to stick with it for some time.

Subscribing: ATLAS, GORILLA MAN
Adding to wish-list: AGENTS OF ATLAS TPB, AGENTS OF ATLAS: DARK REIGN TPB, AGENTS OF ATLAS: TURF WAR TPB, AGENTS OF ATLAS VS. TPB, ATLAS: MARVEL BOY TPB.